City holds event to help Standing Rock protesters last till new year

Michael+Sallstrom+%28left%29+and+Maz+Karandish+perform+together+for+Santa+Barbara+Stands+with+the+Standing+Rock+Thursday%2C+Nov.+17%2C+at+Case+de+la+Raza+in+Santa+Barbara.+The+event+was+organized+by+Gabriella+Hernandez+as+a+way+to+raise+money+for+supplies+for+the+protesters.

GERARDO ZAVALA

Michael Sallstrom (left) and Maz Karandish perform together for Santa Barbara Stands with the Standing Rock Thursday, Nov. 17, at Case de la Raza in Santa Barbara. The event was organized by Gabriella Hernandez as a way to raise money for supplies for the protesters.

GERARDO ZAVALA, Channels Staff

Dozens of people flooded into Casa de la Raza Thursday evening to show their support for Standing Rock, by making donations and informing themselves through a night of discussion and music.

Santa Barbara Stands with Standing Rock was held 6-10 p.m. and filled a room with live music and started an open dialogue inspired by the water protectors protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline.

If installed, the pipeline will cross through sacred Native American burial sites, and would threaten the tribe’s drinking water sources.

“A lot of people say that the Earth is our mother and the water is her veins,” said Cristoforo Hernandez, who drove from Santa Maria to attend the event. “Water is life and that’s why I stand with Standing Rock.”

The event was hosted by former UC Santa Barbara Student Marie Bose and City College Alumnus Gabriella Hernandez.  

There was a $5 entry fee, which went toward lifesaving supplies for the water protectors such as firewood, wood stoves, first aid kits and blankets. An elixir bar was set up next to the audience, with the money going towards buying supplies to keep the water protectors protesting. The majority of the funds will be going to Honor the Earth Organization.

Ms. Hernandez, who has no relation to Cristoforo Hernandez, spent nearly two months at Standing Rock protesting the installation of the pipeline for the indigenous people.

She recounted her experience there with the private security, speaking about the lack of humanity shown for the protesters.

“I was standing on the road when a private security worker drove his very large truck through a crowd of over 200 people including children nearly taking out all of them,” she said. “We had to drive our cars into his car to push him off the road and as he exited his car, he had a loaded assault rifle pointed at 20 unarmed water protectors threatening to shoot the entire time.”

The man was eventually arrested but was released because of his post-traumatic stress disorder and was not charged.

“Being Mexican, I do not identify myself as Latino or Hispanic,” said City College Student Francisco Huerta. “I grasp my indigenous roots, so I stand with Standing Rock because I feel hurt as well; because they’re taking a part of me, of my land and of who we are as people from this land.”

Live performances by local musicians created a rich atmosphere with themes related to or inspired by Standing Rock.

Caitlin Gowdey performed her song, “White Privilege,” which depicts the tendency of police brutality toward minorities, rather than whites.

“It’s incredibly important for people of all races and all cultures to come together and fight for something as vital and important as water and the future of our planet,” Gowdey said. “And to show a connection between all people because this isn’t just an indigenous problem.”

If the pipeline is not completed by Jan. 1, then the pipeline could be defunded when investors can pull out, meaning that the water protectors will need to last another two months.

“I’m from Pennsylvania. [A pipeline] just broke there and I remember that river being blue when I was little and now it’s all brown,” said City College Student Avery Paradise. “We need to just stop putting money in front of the earth because we can’t eat dollars.”

A GoFundMe is set up for donations to protect Standing Rock from the pipeline.